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J.M. Poulard: Is Kobe Bryant’s Reputation Undeserved (8/30/11)

Throughout his career, Kobe Bryant has earned the reputation of being an uncoachable player that often broke out of offensive sets to serve his own desires as a freelance scorer. As a result, animosity amongst some (so-called “Kobe haters”) has been more prevalent than perhaps any other NBA player in recent memory.

J.M. Poulard, writing for Forum Blue & Gold, asks the question, is Kobe’s reputation in this manner really deserved? Poulard catalogues Kobe’s relationship between his teammates and head coaches during the early part of his career, including the roller coaster ride that was his relationship with Shaquille O’Neal. His final conclusion: while Kobe was clearly immature during the early years of his career, there is enough evidence to suggest that he learned from his mistakes and improved immensely over time.

A quick excerpt:

“Much like Jay-Z, Kobe Bryant has excelled at his craft for over a decade and continues to be one of the best in his field. He routinely does things on the basketball court that we are not sure we have ever seen before…”

Read the full article…


17 Responses to “J.M. Poulard: Is Kobe Bryant’s Reputation Undeserved (8/30/11)”

  1. Even though Phil said in his book that Kobe was uncoachable, then why would he come back to coach him and his atrocious teammates after just one year off? Kobe was right when he said something to this extent that the truth will eventually come back, and it has. It’s pretty evident now that if anyone was to blame, it’s Shaq.

    I’m not so sure Kobe’s immaturity in his early years was any different than any other players’ immaturity. It was just more noticed for several reasons: lakers are the most popular NBA team, playing in a huge city, playing with shaq and phil, he was obviously going to be a phenomenal player but had to start in the shadow of shaq unlike jordan, and then so quickly threatening jordan’s legacy after jordan leaves the nba that almost all pundits/fans are so worried about. Once the lakers started winning championships, then the hate started piling on along with shaq’s pettiness, laziness, and stubbornness. But once game time arrived, kobe usually played great inspiring team ball.

    Posted by boyer | September 1, 2011, 7:44 am
  2. There is certainly evidence that Kobe was not the total villain that he was out to be and surely Shaq played a role in the split, but to think that Kobe was blameless is false.

    Regarding teamwork, the elephant in that room is the 2005 NBA Finals against the Pistons and the two years that followed that.

    I doubt anyone was hating on Bryant for having the potential to ascend to Jordan’s level. The trouble with that ascension is that in the NBA’s zeal to crown package and sell Kobe, they failed to wait and allow his game to develop BEFORE trying to sell him as the ‘next Jordan”

    Bryant was not the next Jordan, and we likely will never see another Jordan.

    Instead, he is the first Kobe Bryant. An extremely talented player who, like all players, has his virtues and his flaws.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 1, 2011, 9:14 am
    • Paulie — I tend to agree in that there are probably two very good sides of the story. I actually enjoyed this article by Poulard in that I thought it painted a realistic view of what actually happened, i.e., Kobe came in to the league and thought he was da man. Shaq was lazy, but threatened, and wanted to put Kobe in him place. Kobe didn’t respect Shaq b/c he was lazy. etc., etc.

      It’s an interesting situation as well, b/c unlike Jordan and Lebron, Kobe was not placed in a situation where he was the franchise savior. He kind of had to force his way into an already established team, which created resentment from some of the existing team members. .

      Posted by Brown Mamba | September 1, 2011, 10:10 pm
      • What does the spurs beating pistons in the finals have to do with anything?

        You sound like Simmons, Paulie, blaming Kobe for awful teammates in 05-07.

        I’m always confused by people think Jordan is so much better than anyone else, especially Kobe. Different situations. It’d be interesting to see if they reversed roles. Jordan never took a team to 3 straight finals with as little of a supporting cast as Kobe did. It’s funny to hear some people think that Gasol is the MVP of the lakers, while he went 0-12 in the playoffs and garnered only 1 AS appearance in 7 years in Memphis before teaming up with Kobe and riding Kobe’s coattails to 2 titles. Don’t led the media fool you into thinking that Jordan is some untouchable ‘god’ of basketball. Kobe’s already breaking lots of his records, and he’s not done yet.

        Posted by boyer | September 2, 2011, 8:02 am
        • Boyer – for your trouble, you’re only going to get a recitation of the “evidence” (individual basketball statistics, awards, and the like), instead of actual analysis, in prose, of the skill set and impact of each player, and the team outcomes generated by them.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | September 2, 2011, 8:24 am
          • I have asked several ties for an expansion on your erudition, Gil, but have yet to see it.

            I await enlightenment.

            Until then, I have to use the tools in my tool box.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 2, 2011, 2:06 pm
  3. Sorry, I meant the ’04 Finals. And which of Jordan’s records has Bryant broken?

    To be listed as one of the top 15 players ever is not a slight.

    Lastly, I doubt that Bryant has any more great feats nor titles in his future

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 2, 2011, 2:00 pm
  4. it is not the media that makes people think that Jordan is the best.

    It is the record:

    Leading the league in scoring 10 times, Six titles in 8 years, % MVP’s, 6 Finals MVP’s,

    The combination of black ink and championships makes Jordan’s career unique. No other player has that combination.

    Say anything else, that is the truth.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 2, 2011, 2:04 pm
  5. This article tries to paint Kobe as a “player that has rarely thrown a teammate under the bus” and states that “the victim whenever conflicts arose and yet he managed to stay above it all.” Of course, this is complete BS-throughout his career Kobe has ignited conflict wherever he’s gone and thrown multiple teammates and organizations under the bus.

    You can’t have a feud without 2 willing parties. Had either Kobe or Shaq been able to subjugate his huge ego, the breakup never would have had to happen. Neither is blameless-who is more to blame is a matter of opinion. But Kobe, like Shaq, has been less than saintly throughout his career.

    Kobe punched his own teammate, Samaki Walker, in the face and has taken shots at Iguodala and Matt Barnes’ manhood. He’s viciously elbowed at least 4 different white guys, which has led some to believe that he may have been targeting white guys. And the list of prominent teammates he has publicly feuded with or thrown under the bus is not short-Shaq, Karl Malone, Andrew Bynum, Smush Parker, and now Pau Gasol. He quit on his team in game 7 of the 2006 NBA playoffs against the Suns. Phil Jackson called this guy “uncoachable” for a reason.

    Off the court, Kobe’s ego has also run un-checked. He refused to play for Charlotte as a rookie and famously refused to stick to the offensive script for the Lakers. During lean times, he tried to trade himself to the Bulls and tried to dictate the terms of the trade. He called a ref a “faggot.” And to top it all off, he cheated on his wife with numerous different women and was accused of rape.

    There’s no doubt that Kobe is incredibly skilled and has a great work ethic. But there are also plenty of valid reasons to be a “hater” that have nothing to do with his skillset.

    Posted by Lochpster | September 6, 2011, 9:57 pm
    • I have no doubt that those who “hate” on Kobe for some of the factual reasons you listed are consistent, and must “hate” on Michael Jordan as well.

      If you hate on Kobe for punching his own teammate in the face, you must hate MJ for punching Steve Kerr in the face during a practice.

      If you hate Kobe for cheating on his wife with numerous different women, you must hate MJ equally, who’s known to have paid off women for their silence.

      If you hate that he has thrown teammates under the bus, you must hate MJ for demanding other teammates not pass the ball to Bill Cartwright.

      If you hate that Kobe called a ref a faggot, you must hate MJ for calling Kwame Brown a “flaming faggot”.

      If you hate Kobe for not sticking to the offensive script for the Lakers, you must hate MJ for his similar abandonment of the triangle during games.

      I have no doubt that the haters are consistent in applying their criteria for hating on players.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 7, 2011, 12:05 am
    • Gimme a break Loch. Get your facts straight. You’re going to actually include Smush in your list, that’s funny? What do all these guys have in common? They were lazy. If Kobe needs to say something to these guys about getting tougher and working harder, then he should, that’s what being a leader is all about. Jordan did, Bird did it, etc., it’s just funny that Kobe gets blamed for doing some of these things, while others don’t. Be consistent comparing players, as Gil points it. And the bynum incident was just some random dude coming up to kobe in parking lot, it’s not like kobe went out of his way to say to management to trade bynum.

      And if Phil said he was uncoachable, why did he come back to the lakers so soon? Think that one over. If he was uncoachable, Phil would’ve never have come back, makes no sense, and Kobe had to give his OK to have Phil back.

      And kobe never quit in game 7 against the suns. That’s just a huge fallacy some media members somehow try to believe. Alvin Gentry, ass. coach of the suns in 2006 said Kobe didn’t quit and played hard the entire game. Re-watch the game, Kobe played hard the entire game. Don’t listen to barkley, he’s an idiot when it comes to nba analysis, he’s there for comedy. He blasts kobe for shooting too much in the first half, then blasts him for not shooting enough in the 2nd. Make up your mind. Whatever kobe does, he will get the shaft, that much is evident. damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t, he rarely gets a fair shake. And he never refused to play in charlotte. he would’ve played if they didn’t trade him. He’s drafted at 17. Charlotte never intended to keep him anyway. Both teams wanted him to not be taken til charlotte picked, so the trade with divac could happen. Don’t make up stuff to fit your argument, ridiculous.

      Posted by boyer | September 7, 2011, 7:58 am
      • Pot, meet kettle. Making up stuff to fit your argument? Try ” Kobe’s already breaking lots of his records, and he’s not done yet.”

        What are these “lots of records?” I’ll spot you one-11 straight 35 point games. That’s the only record of MJ’s that Kobe’s broken of which I am aware. If there are “lots”, as you state, I promise to you I will freely admit I am wrong. If there aren’t, I expect you to admit you’re wrong. Fair is fair, no?

        Pot meet kettle, round 2. “Get your facts straight.”

        If you’re going to blast me for getting facts wrong, which I did nowhere in my post, it would behoove you not to make errors in your own post. Kobe was drafted at 13 by Charlotte.

        Kobe threw Smush under the bus when they were ex-teammates. That’s not a motivational ploy, it’s being a jerk. Kobe shouldn’t be talking about trading Bynum in public no matter what-any famous person knows that somebody’s always listening. And what does Phil Jackson’s coming back have to do with his criticism of Kobe? Perhaps uncoachable was hyperbole, but Jackson was dating the team owner’s daughter-he had exactly one option if he wanted to coach. And as for Kobe not refusing to play for Charlotte, Kobe’s agent, Arn Tellem, stated that Kobe playing for Charlotte was “an impossibility.” Sounds pretty much like a refusal to me, although if you have evidence to the contrary, which I seriously doubt, I’d love to hear it and would be willing to reconsider my stance.

        I admit I can’t prove with 100% certainty that Kobe refused to shoot in that game, but neither can you prove I’m wrong. It sure looked pretty obvious to me and lots of people would agree with me (as I’m sure many others would agree with you).

        In no way am I inconsistent. I would slam Jordan for all the same things Gil listed and admitted as much in the below post. My entire point was that Kobe isn’t the saint he was made out to be in that article. Nothing more, nothing less. Your straw man argument will not work here.

        Posted by Lochpster | September 7, 2011, 9:01 am
        • First off, Kobe’s agent isn’t Kobe, and 2nd off, the deal was done before he was drafted, if he dropped to to charlotte, which he did. These type of agent ploys happen every year to make some teams nervous. Not sure where you get this quote, but it doesn’t necessarily help your point at all, because like I said, if the deal was already done, then obviously playing in charlotte or anywhere else other than l.a. is an impossibility.

          Not sure where you’re getting this smush stuff, but you’ve really never heard ex-teammates throw other ex-teammates under the bus. The only think I heard was Smush in a ranting video throwing Kobe under the bus. I’m guessing if Kobe had a response about Smush, it was after smush’s rants. The thing is, if Kobe’s a jerk, so is basically every other prof. athlete.

          As far as shooting in the game 7 against the suns. Before you said ‘quit’, now you’re saying ‘shooting.’ Different things. Just because you’re not shooting doesn’t mean you’re quitting. Just watch the game again. Your bias and facts are way off. The one game Kobe went off was game 6, and they lost. Phil told Kobe to get everyone involved at halftime of game 7, after Kobe is playing awesome, but lakers are way down at half. So, that’s exactly what Kobe did in the 2nd half, and biased fools like you want to bash him for that. Most of his haters whine about how he shoots too much, and then when he doesn’t, you say the opposite, just be conistent in your arguments, you sound like nbarealist. Several people involved in that game from both teams say contrary to what you’re saying, nice try, thuogh.

          Posted by boyer | September 8, 2011, 9:29 am
          • What were those records you mentioned again? Oh yes, there aren’t lots of records. I suspect you made them up.

            That Arn Tellem quote isn’t obscure, it can be found on Kobe’s Wiki page with an original link cited. Hard for me to think it matters whether a deal was reached or not-if a player (or his agent) says playing with a team is an impossibility, he is refusing to play for them. Tellem and Bryant certainly didn’t know he was going to LA until the trade was announced, because even LA hadn’t told Charlotte what to do with the pick until 5 minutes before it was made. So it definitely reflects on them.

            As for Smush’s famous Kobe rant, that happened in March of 2009. Kobe’s Smush rant happened in April 2008. So clearly your assumption is (again) made up. But I’d have expected that, since you didn’t even know where the info came from when you decided to rebut it. Here’s the link.


            As far as basically every other athlete throwing his ex-teammates under the bus…Really? Please expand, with examples. Otherwise, I’ll assume this argument is (again) made up. Sure, there are a few scattered examples, but most athletes are savvier than this.

            Your argument against Kobe quitting is no argument at all. Refusing to shoot isn’t quitting? It sure seems to me that if a team’s struggling to score and the NBA’s leading scorer refuses to shoot, that’s quitting. Sure looks to me like everyone was calling Kobe a ballhog, so he wanted to prove everyone wrong by not shooting at all. Many observers would agree with me, just like some observers agree with you. I can’t prove my point, and neither can you, so it’s a silly point to argue.

            And as for consistency, I never said Kobe shot too much. You made that up too. You’re good at that. I only slammed him for not shooting enough when his team needed him. When you’re the league scoring leader and put up 23 first half points on over 60% from the field, and then you take 3 shots in the second half en route to 1 point, something’s wrong. That’s either quitting or a horrible choke.

            This is really a silly argument. My main issue is with an article painting Kobe as a victim and somebody who always took the high road. That is just clearly not the case. I’d make the same argument if somebody tried to write an article about how Shaq, MJ or Lebron was a victim of factors beyond his control rather than an egomaniac. Call me a hater if you want (and I admit I do not like Kobe) but I really just loathe revisionist history.

            Posted by Lochpster | September 8, 2011, 10:38 pm
  6. I agree 100% with your last post. Trust me, I have no love for MJ as a person. Kobe may not match up to MJ in terms of talent or career accomplishments, but in terms of being jerks, they’re neck and neck.

    Posted by Lochpster | September 7, 2011, 8:23 am
    • Agreed. I know you were only bringing up other people’s possible reasons, but I primarily care about a player’s basketball skill. Unless I have solid proof the player did something I completely morally object to, I really don’t care much about their personal attitudes. This includes Lebron. Most criticism I have for him would relate to weaknesses in his skill set, not his personality (or perceived personality).

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 7, 2011, 1:36 pm


  1. […] line of reasoning was even recently recited during a discussion between Chasing 23 readers Lochpster and Boyer. My own recollection of the game is that Kobe gave an unbelievable effort in the 1st […]

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